50 Unheralded Albums from 2011

Helms Alee: WeatherheadHelms AleeWeatherhead (Hydra Head, 6/21/11)

Helms Alee: “8/16”

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With its 2008 debut album, Seattle trio Helms Alee forged a sound all its own — part metal, part post-punk, part melody-driven rock, and all abandon. As a trio, the band’s personal contributions to its sophomore effort, Weatherhead, are easier to discern: the driving, effected guitar and guttural screams of Ben Verellen, the distorted low end and breathy, light-weight vocals of bassist Dana James, and the steady, pounding aggression of Hozoji Matheson-Margullis.

On top of alternately punishing and pulchritudinous riffage, Verellen and James again are paired for vocal harmonies. But this time around, they’re joined by the assertive vocals of Matheson-Margullis. James, however, takes the lead at other points, and she frequently harmonizes with Verellen’s clean vocals to produce some of the album’s most hypnotic tracks. The egalitarianism of the vocals is nearly matched by the diversity of the music — albeit music that nearly always rocks.

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